City of Greater Bendigo councillors approved two contentious developments at a meeting on Wednesday night, as one councillor took aim at outdated car parking objections.
The first, a medical practice on Don street, was opposed by nearby residents on a number of grounds, including lack of car parking, noise, safety and privacy.
The medical centre, which can accommodate three doctors, sought a reduction in statutory car parking requirements at the site – from 11 to four.
Councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth was critical of the “tired” parking argument of residents, particularly in the cathedral precinct.
“The lack of parking in Bendigo, and that claim, is becoming a tired statement,” she said.
“Have a look around. We have plenty of parking and the argument that we don’t is wearing a little thin.”
Cr Matt Emond said the possibility of having three extra doctors close to central Bendigo was a great outcome for the area.
Cr Andrea Metcalf said the reduction in car parks sought by the applicant was “relatively small”.
Councillors were more divided on the plan to build a service station on the Midland Highway in Huntly, but ultimately voted in favour of the proposal.
Some residents opposed the location of the new petrol station, destined for a block of land in the centre of the township next to the shire hall.
Cr Metcalf, who voted against the plan, questioned why a number of historical town plans for Huntly, one of which suggested a petrol station was required but not in the centre of town, had no bearing on council’s decision.
“It’s now increasingly evidence to me that council needs to stop investing money into town plans that have no impact on planning matters or should give them teeth by incorporating them into the planning scheme,” she said.
Cr Jennifer Alden said: “This plan needs to go back to the drawing board for a more suitable location. If this development was to proceed, residents would like to see it on the outskirts of the town.”
New Whipstick ward councillor Malcolm Pethybridge said a service station would move Huntly into the 21st century.
Councillors also voted to sell a council-owned property at 49 Napier Street, Eaglehawk.
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